Charities' money woes

By Geoff Cumming

Dreams of a more secure financial footing for Auckland's top cultural and community groups may have to wait for the planned commission of inquiry into the city's governance.

Eleven regional cultural and service charities want Parliament to pass a law allowing them to levy the city's seven local councils for some of their funding needs each year.

The Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill is due to be tabled in Parliament on August 15, but the bill's opponents are using the Government announcement of the royal commission to press for a delay.

The bill would boost ratepayer funding for the 11 groups and see funding more evenly shared across the region. The unlikely bedfellows range from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and NZ Opera to the coastguard and surf lifesavers.

At the moment the Auckland City Council gives the combined groups $4.4 million each year; the six other councils (Rodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Manukau, Papakura and Franklin) contribute just $650,000 between them. But with National tipped to oppose the bill, the Government will need minor party support for it to proceed to select committee hearings.

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